Circulation at Porter’s Hageman Library is up dramatically, and Westchester
Public Library Board members said it’s easy to see why.
Following a tour during Thursday’s board meeting to view recent renovations,
president Vern Odom commented, “Kudos all the way around to everyone who had
a part in it. I think you’ll all agree it’s a nice change. It’s just
Circulation of materials at Hageman last month shows a nearly 90 percent
increase over October, 2008. “The numbers are definitely driven by the
kids,” said board member Drew Rhed citing a 237 percent jump in juvenile
nonfiction and a 136 percent increase in juvenile fiction.
By comparison, October circulation at Thomas Library in Chesterton was up by
7.69 percent. Year-to-date systemwide WPL circulation is up 7.48 percent
with 332,231 items circulated.
Hageman manager Suzi Chomel described how areas recently were freshly
painted and relocated there creating better supervision for public-computer
users, an adult relaxation area around the fireplace, a young-adult reading
area with fun chairs and a children’s play area, the latter two each facing
Chomel also said 20 new magazine titles have been added to the serials
department; the materials budget at Hageman has been increased and new
Library officials said they anticipate the good news at Hageman will only
Assistant WPL library director Jane Walsh-Brown reported a Nintendo Wii game
system is being set up in the Hageman meeting room to run on a 42-inch LCD
television. In the next few weeks the dates and times will be announced when
Wii will be available for young people and adults to test their hand at Wii
sports, Rock Band and the Wii Fit programs.
The equipment was purchased through the library gift fund. Next month the
Library Board will discuss a policy for Wii use by patrons. “I think it will
be very popular. A lot of libraries are doing this now,” said Walsh-Brown.
In other business, Porter resident Karen Nash has resigned from the Library
Board due to work and family responsibilities. The Duneland School Board,
which appointed her, will be notified of the vacancy. A replacement will
complete Nash’s term, which expires in 2011.
The Library Board discussed but took no position on a proposal by the Porter
County Council to disburse to individual government units a portion of the
interest earned on the former sale of the county-owned Porter Memorial
WPL library director Phil Baugher estimated under the council’s tentative
formula the library would receive about $29,000.
The money is intended to reimburse government units to offset their cost of
borrowing money while awaiting their share of the long-delayed Porter County
property tax bills, due to arrive in the mail soon.
WPL never had to borrow but its attorney, Terry Hiestand, said the library
did lose interest money by not being able to invest its cash because it had
to be reserved to finance operations. “We self-financed a $2.8 million
Library Board members were split whether to request the reimbursement money,
pass on it or take no position. When Odom called for a motion and none was
forthcoming, the latter occurred.
WPL recently did receive from Porter County $683.29 representing the
library’s share of the interest the county earned on taxes collected but not
In a related matter, Walsh-Brown said revised figures show in 2010 and 2011
when circuit-breaker property tax caps take full effect in Indiana, the
library stands to lose $12,734 in the first year and $20,947 the second or
an average $7,000 more revenue than first estimated.
Walsh-Brown said WPL’s new Facebook page has grown steadily and is proving
to be a great way for the library to publicize upcoming activities and
provide photos and commentary on events. The page can be accessed at
www.wpl.lib.in.us by clicking on the blue Facebook button; 134 fans have
registered so far.
The library recently hosted a Volunteer Appreciation Luncheon saluting its
45 volunteers and 34 shelf elves, the latter who help maintain the stacks.
It was announced both Thomas and Hageman libraries and the WPL-operated
Westchester Township History Museum will close Dec. 17 from 11:30 a.m. to 2
p.m. for the staff Christmas Party. The next Library Board meeting will be
Dec. 17 at 7 p.m. at the museum in the Brown Mansion on West Porter Avenue.
Walsh-Brown said the museum is looking to hire a museum educator/printer
position offering employment 20 hours per week.
The assistant director presented a report to the Library Board regarding
programming, which she said is guided by WPL’s mission to provide
information, provide education and instruction, provide cultural experience
and growth, and to provide meaningful recreation to the residents of the
Through October of this year 17,863 people have attended 1,019 free
library/museum programs representing a wide variety of topics for people of
Walsh-Brown said all WPL departments across the board contribute in some way
to programming, whether Computer Basics and Help Clinics, Popular Books,
Simple Home Repairs, Film Series, Knitting for the Holidays, museum exhibits
and talks, and even the recent very popular Create A Skull series of
Halloween art projects.
New to the Children’s Department is The Lego Club where participants make
original creations from the popular toy. Raising Readers is an incentive
program to encourage parents to read 1,000 books to their children before
they enter Kindergarten; as of last week 79 families signed up at Thomas and
29 at Hageman.
A unique program, according to Walsh-Brown, is the Children’s Department’s
Chess Master Instruction program overseen by area resident Nick Gronewegen.
About 25 children are enrolled.
“We’re the only one to have this (program) and it’s really caught fire this
year,” said Walsh-Brown.